Love it or hate it (or probably a whole lot of both), IKEA revolutionized the DIY furniture and home-furnishings categories with its inexpensive partially assembled ethos. And now, it’s turning its attention toward onsite farming to support its in-store restaurants. Which, if you think about it, is really just the ultimate expression of its love for all things DIY.
“The Farm”—a hydroponic garden system that already uses IKEA lights and shelving to grow fruits and vegetables—may soon help the chain to cut down on its food costs by allowing the stores to grow some of the food used in the IKEA cafes. Growing onsite means fresher ingredients that don’t have to travel to get to the store, and the program wouldn't be exclusive to IKEA, either--the model appears to be designed to "farm" out to other restaurants interested in growing their own food, too.
While there’s no word yet what exactly IKEA will be growing (pretty sure meatballs don’t grow on vines), the chain seems to be exploring the opportunity in earnest.
IKEA recently partnered with Space10, “an independent ‘future-living lab’ and exhibition space in Copenhagen,” reports Food and Wine. It works with restaurants to create hydroponic farms onsite—something you might expect to see at trendy restaurants in Los Angeles or Brooklyn rather than a furniture store out by the airport. “We are looking into the potential of growing fresh, healthy food without chemicals much closer to consumption,” says Space10’s Simon Caspersen.
This isn’t IKEA’s first foray into “healthy” food, either. Last year, it launched a vegan version of its iconic Swedish meatball to rave reviews. It also made a recent switch to sustainable seafood.
And while furniture and home furnishings still remain its top-selling categories, food sales aren’t insignificant. According to PSFK, IKEA’s restaurants accounted for about $2 billion of its more than $37 billion in sales last year. That’s a lot of meatballs. And soon, it may also be a lot of store-grown fruits and veggies, too.
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IKEA image via Shutterstock